Instagram has confirmed that it is developing a new feature called “Favorites,” which would allow users to select certain accounts whose posts they would like to see higher in their feed. A similar feature already exists on Facebook where it gives users a bit more control over the News Feed algorithm. On Facebook, users can select up to 30 Facebook Friends or Pages whose posts are displayed higher in the News Feed. However, it’s unclear what the limit of an Instagram favorites feature would be.
Instagram’s Favorites feature was recently spotted under reverse engineering development Alexander Paluzzi, who found a new pin icon for favorites in Instagram’s Settings menu, and other details on how the feature works.
Based on Paluzzi screenshots job on Twitter, users will be able to search through the Instagram accounts they are currently following to create a list of favorites. This list can be changed at any time and Instagram notes that users will not be notified when they are added to someone’s favorites.
This is a similar level of privacy to that offered by Instagram’s years-old ‘Close Friends’ feature, which instead focuses on the ability for users to create a separate list of followers so that ‘they can share their more private and personal Instagram stories with a selected group of their own choosing.
Paluzzi tells us that he was able to add contacts to the favorites list, but hasn’t noticed any changes in the Instagram feed yet after doing so. This implies that the feature is still under construction and that a launch is not imminent.
“This feature is an internal prototype that is still in development and not externally tested,” an Instagram spokesperson told TechCrunch. They declined to share any further details on the feature.
A Favorites feature could play a role in Instagram’s larger plans to better establish itself as a hotbed for creator content. In other leaks, Paluzzi had also discovered that the company was building “fan subscriptions,” which would allow users to pay for high access to creator content, like exclusive live videos or stories, for example. Paid subscribers can also receive a special badge that will highlight their name when commenting, commenting on, or viewing the creator’s stories.
Since users who pay for content wouldn’t want to miss a moment, it would make sense to give them tools to designate those creators as “Favorites” whose posts were also ranking higher in their feed.
A Favorites feature could also come in handy for those who have taken a break from Instagram and prefer to see important photos and videos they missed from favorite accounts upon their return, rather than the most recent or interesting updates from. all the accounts they follow.
And while that’s probably not the primary focus, the new feature could help address user complaints about algorithmic flow in general.
Today, there are still a number of people who wish to be able to view Instagram posts in chronological order, preferring not to have the posts rearranged by an algorithm that they cannot control. Favorites would not give in to this demand (although Instagram has tested a chronological feed in the past). But that would at least give users the ability to make sure they don’t miss the posts of those whose updates they most want to see.
Although Instagram has said it is working on the development of Favorites, that does not necessarily mean that such a feature will be launched to the public. Companies the size of Instagram often prototype new ideas, but only some of these tests result in a general version.